Immigration and customs checks (which usually only take place if you’re arriving from outside the EU) normally involve a minimum of fuss, although there are exceptions.
Your vehicle could be searched on arrival from Andorra. The tiny principality of Andorra is not in the European Union (EU), so border controls remain in place. Spanish customs look out for contraband duty-free products destined for illegal resale in Spain. The same may apply to travellers arriving from Morocco or the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. In this case the search is for controlled substances. Expect long delays at these borders, especially in summer.
Duty-free allowances for travellers entering Spain from outside the EU include 2L of wine (or 1L of wine and 1L of spirits), and 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
There are no restrictions on the import of duty-paid items into Spain from other EU countries for personal use. You can buy VAT-free articles at airport shops when travelling between EU countries.
Citizens of other EU member states as well as those from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland can travel to Spain with their national identity card alone. If such countries do not issue ID cards – as in the UK – travellers must carry a valid passport. All other nationalities must have a valid passport.
In the aftermath of the UK's decision to leave the EU, the future requirements for UK citizens travelling in Spain and the rest of the EU remains unclear – check with your local Spanish embassy or consulate for the latest rules.
By law you are supposed to carry your passport or ID card with you in Spain at all times.
Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days per 180 days (visas are not required at all for members of EU or Schengen countries). Some nationalities need a Schengen visa.
Spain is one of 26 member countries of the Schengen Convention, under which 22 EU countries (all but Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the UK) plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have abolished checks at common borders.
The visa situation for entering Spain is as follows:
Citizens or residents of EU & Schengen countries No visa required.
Citizens or residents of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand & the USA No visa required for tourist visits of up to 90 days out of every 180 days.
Other countries Check with a Spanish embassy or consulate.
To work or study in Spain A special visa may be required – contact a Spanish embassy or consulate before travel.
Extensions & Residence
Schengen visas cannot be extended. You can apply for no more than two visas in any 12-month period and they are not renewable once you are in Spain.
Nationals of EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland can enter and leave Spain at will and don’t need to apply for a tarjeta de residencia (residence card), although they are supposed to apply for residence papers.
People of other nationalities who want to stay in Spain longer than 90 days have to get a residence card, and for them it can be a drawn-out process, starting with an appropriate visa issued by a Spanish consulate in their country of residence. Start the process well in advance.